Lemon-infused chiffon cake
– Daleen van Schalkwyk
Daleen got her recipe 22 years ago from a friend in Vaal Reefs. She adapted the original syrup to flavour it with lemon.
MAKES 1 LARGE CAKE Preparation time: 20 min Baking time: 45-50 min
9 eggs, separated 560 ml (2¼ c) castor sugar 125 ml (½ c) lemon juice grated zest of 2 lemons 180 ml (¾ c) oil 250 ml (1 c) cold water 810 ml (3¼ c) cake flour 27 ml (5½ t) baking powder pinch of salt pinch of cream of tartar
125 ml (½ c) sugar 125 ml (½ c) freshly squeezed lemon juice grated zest of 1 lemon 3-4 rosemary sprigs
LEMON BUTTER CREAM
125 g butter 625 ml (2½ c) icing sugar juice and grated zest of 1 lemon 2-3 ml (generous ½ t) tartaric acid
fresh berries and rosemary sprigs
Preheat the oven to 160 °C. Line the bottom of a 20 cm and a 22 cm cake baking tin with baking paper. Do not grease. 1 Cake Put the egg yolks and castor sugar in a mixing bowl in one go and whisk until pale and creamy. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil and cold water and mix. 2 Sift together the flour and baking powder and whisk into the yolk mixture. 3 Whisk the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar together until stiff peaks form. Fold into the flour mixture with a metal spoon. 4 Spoon the batter into the 2 baking tins and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake springs back if you press it lightly. 5 Allow to cool slightly in the tins, lightly loosen the sides with a knife and turn the cakes out on a wire rack to cool completely. 6 Syrup Boil the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool and remove the rosemary sprigs. 7 Halve each cake horizontally and drizzle the syrup over all the layers. 8 Lemon butter cream Put the butter in a mixer bowl and beat until pale yellow. Add half the icing sugar and the lemon juice and zest. Beat again quickly and add the tartaric acid. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat at high speed until pale and creamy. 9 Decoration Spread a thin layer of butter cream over the bottom layer of each cake. Sandwich matching layers together, icing inside, and place the smaller cake on the larger one. Spread butter cream on top and decorate with berries. Arrange rosemary sprigs on the bottom cake layer.
Daleen went to the trouble of finding shortcuts for a complicated cake that is known to easily flop. Chiffon cake is not as rich as a butter cake and the berries add a fresh and healthy finish. The lemon gives the cake a delicious flavour. We’ve used the recipe a few times in our test kitchen and the result has been flawless every time. I sometimes replace the lemons with limes for a trendy touch. I restyled the winner’s dish as part of her prize. On the left is Daleen’s original cake and on the right the cake I styled for this magazine.